Titanic Project 2017: posters, buoyancy and mapping

Start of Titanic Project week 2 and the Crew were working with Mr Weir from Art and Design creating Titanic posters in Photoshop (photos to follow). Next they learned about buoyancy and how enormous steel vessels stay afloat, making their own vessels with Mr Law in Science. Congratulations to the team of Omar and Conor whose boat was most successful.

In the afternoon, Miss Moir from Social Subjects worked with the class on a giant map showing the Titanic’s route from Belfast to disaster, adding information about each port of call and passenger nationalities.

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BBC School Report 2017

BBC School Report provides an opportunity for pupils between 11-16 to experience a day in a newsroom, creating and reporting on the news. Groups can choose to report on the events of the day as they occur, build their own reports on a theme, or a mixture of both. Our Lady’s BBC School Report 2017 focused on the Transplant Games which are taking place in North Lanarkshire from 27th-30th July this year.

In advance of School Report Day on 16th March, pupils spent every Friday lunchtime in the Library selecting issues to investigate, improving their knowledge of organ transplants and making contact with relevant organisations and individuals who might be able to help them. As the day drew closer, pupils also volunteered time after school to learn about and practice sending requests for information, interview techniques, creating surveys and writing reports. Senior pupils involved worked on a storyboard for a video report.

One group of pupils set up an interview with heart transplant recipient, Mr Brian Gorman, who described his life before and after his operation. Mr Gorman explained that he did not know whose heart he had received but that he sent an update every five years to the donor’s family through the hospital to say thank you.

Another group interviewed the Chair of the North Lanarkshire games, Councillor Jim McCabe, who explained the reasons why North Lanarkshire was so keen to host the event and personal friends who had died because the wait for the transplant had been just too long for their bodies to cope.

Pupils were also keen to investigate attitudes to and knowledge of organ transplantation in school and created a survey for staff and pupils.

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On the day, pupils completed more surveys and also visited asked staff if they would like to share their reasons for carrying a donor card. The group created bullet points from all of their sources of information which became part of our School Report Ideas Wall. They collated the responses of the survey and designed posters to illustrate their data, which were combined with the storyboard and bullet points to create our video report. They wrote reports on all of their investigations. Throughout the day, pupils took photos of their colleagues and tweeted what they were up to. We even sent a photo of the dreich day outside to BBC Weather Watchers!

Naturally, with such a lot going on we had one or two issues, but the pupils were fantastic, and remained positive throughout, even when Mr Kerr and Mrs Macfadyen were tearing their hair out.

Our thanks to everyone in OLHS for their support, to Mr Gorman and Councillor McCabe for taking the time to come along to the school, and to everyone who responded to our e-mails and requests for help. We couldn’t have done it without you.

All of our BBC School Report work is available by clicking here.

British Sign Language class

A number of S6 pupils and two members of staff have been learning BSL now for three weeks, under the eagle eyes of Ian, Rachel and Helen from the Lanarkshire Deaf Club. We are becoming much more confident with our finger spelling, colours, animals, greetings, family groups and common signs. We can’t wait to start working in pairs on our conversational skills, beginning next week.

The ten week course, organised by Mrs Donnachie and Mrs Zambonini, is a chance for everyone to become more deaf aware, and to add to our communication skills.

Titanic Project 2016 : Storyteller

Professional storyteller, Allison Galbraith, returned to OLHS to help the Titanic Group record their stories. Each pupil chose a different aspect of the Titanic to focus on, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator. Allison had previously visited to introduce herself and build pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger at the beginning of the project. Each person was invited to share a little about their name and family background until everyone was at their ease. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to know when Allison would be returning.

Allison started the group off with some breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups, including tongue twisters and jaw massage, before we settled on the comfy seats to record the pupils’ work. Allison provided additional advice on reading speed, pausing and presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite the dangers of breaking into the giggles, every pupil recorded their own work beautifully.

Titanic Project Week 1

Our Titanic Project pupils spent a week investigating facts about the ship and ship-building. They worked with storyteller, Allison Galbraith, to learn what makes a decent story, and visited the Titan Crane at Clydebank and the Denny Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Science Department demonstrated buoyancy and helped pupils investigate floating (see below) and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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From Mr Law

The Science Department asked pupils to design a ship so that it wouldn’t sink.

The Groups did very well.  There were some excellent designs and some nervous and excited participants during the second phase of the challenge when designers add mass to the boats to see when they sink.

Results :

  • Johann & Harry: 1,200g
  • Nicole & Natalie: 2,000g
  • Gary & Dean: 2,000g
  • Zac, Shannon & Sammi:  2,800g

Forfeit for the others is that they have to refer to the winners as Captain for the rest of the day.

Easter Baskets

The S5/6 Personal Development class are selling Easter baskets complete with eggs of various sizes, little bunnies and chicks. Baskets cost £6 each and can be ordered through the school via Mrs Zambonini.


The money raised from the baskets is being split between charity and to provide starter funds for the Personal Development class’s next project.

Drama Production Skills Workshop

Report by Mr Gillespie

Our Lady’s High School’s National 5 Drama classes enjoyed a superb opportunity to gain experience in a professional theatre venue earlier this month. They attended Cumbernauld Theatre for one full day on Thursday  15 January,

Our Lady’s pupils had the theatre all to themselves, with practical workshops on Lighting, Sound, Costume and Make Up. We worked in the theatre itself, in the studio, backstage and in the dressing rooms.  We worked with theatre staff, designers and technical staff, and got the opportunity to use the theatre’s lighting and sound equipment.  We looked at the different kinds of lanterns used in the theatre, and had the opportunity to explore their effect and to create some exciting lighting states.  We designed costume and created our own Soundscape for a piece of text, selecting sound effects choosing appropriate music and creating sound to enhance the production. Using Make Up proved great fun, but we also learnt about how to create the effect which we sought, and got the chance to try out some of our ideas on one another!

This was a great day, where pupils had the chance to use their imagination whilst learning about how to create some of the crucial backstage elements which go towards making a production so effective.  The National 5 Drama Production Skills workshop helped prepare pupils for the forthcoming National 5 examination. It covered important elements of the course, and helped pupils to understand much more about the nature and effect of the creative choices which are made when creating a production. Thanks go to Cumbernauld Theatre, to  the specialist staff who offered invaluable support, and to North Lanarkshire Council for supporting this excellent venture.

PSHE Day – Skills Development Scotland

On Thursday 15th January, OLHS held a very successful Senior PSHE day for all pupils in S5 and S6. Pupils had the whole day out of class for a number of important meetings and training sessions.

Ruth Robertson from Skills Development Scotland delivered The Buzz Personality Test, getting pupils to think about personality traits that they possess, how other people are different to them, and how they could use this information to help with their career decision making.

Part of the training involves pupils being given a four letter code. Each code refers to an animal – easier to remember than a code for most people – which suggests the types of job that a person might wish to investigate. This was very popular with pupils, with deep consideration about whether an owl or a bear really expressed their personality best.

Once they had their code / animal, pupils were asked to think silently for thirty seconds about their dream job, and how they could achieve this goal, before sharing their thoughts with a partner. The point of this exercise was to find out whether quiet, personal, more introverted consideration was easier for them than noisier, shared, more extroverted analysis, or vice versa. However, It became clear very quickly that for some, being silent for thirty seconds was almost painful. Whether this was due to their enthusiasm for their plans or a simple inability to wheesht remains unclear.

Many thanks to Ruth Robertson and her colleague for their time in Our Lady’s today.

College applications

Our Careers Adviser, Ruth Robertson, has organised a series of lunchtime support sessions for anyone applying for college.

Applications for Glasgow City College are already open, with New College Lanarkshire and other colleges expected any moment!

All support sessions will be held in the Library at lunchtime from 1.10pm.

  • Friday 16th January
  • Monday 19th January
  • Thursday 22nd January
  • Friday 23rd January

Ruth will also be available in the Library at lunchtime on Monday 26th and Friday 30th January for drop-in sessions.

Tartan Day 2014

Report from Mrs Connor

Pupils and staff celebrated St Andrew’s Day with a whole school “Tartan Day”. Pupils were allowed to come to school out of uniform and were asked to wear something tartan or Scottish. The school was very colourful with tartan kilts, trousers, tops, tammies etc on parade. They were asked to donate £1 to St Andrew’s Hospice for this privilege. The event was organised by Andrew House pupils and Mrs Connor.

As well as Tartan Day there were other events around the school including the sale of tartan bows and ribbons. A staff coffee morning took place at interval with Michael Clark (Andrew House Prefect) playing the bagpipes and Emma Kirkwood and Declan Murray from 1A singing Loch Lomond. During lunchtime a “Scots Corner” was set up, selling saltire cupcakes, tattoos and face painting. Again, all proceeds going to St Andrew’s Hospice. The Maths Department even got in on the act by delivering lessons on designing your own tartan. A great day was had by all.

The final total of money isn’t in yet but will be well over £500.

Christmas Fair 2014

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Our wonderful Christmas Fair took place on Saturday 29th November. Pupils in the Personal Development and Enterprise classes were responsible for turning our Zone from a dining room onto a magical festive fair, complete with Santa, bouncy castle and a whole range of fabulous gifts, prizes and good things to eat. Our Lady’s is particularly grateful for donations from families and school supporters.

The event itself ran like clockwork the following day and was busy throughout with staff and pupils grabbing the best bargains in the Zone before settling down for a chat with a cuppa.

Stalls were run by staff, pupils, parents and local businesses and included lucky dip, face painting, nail painting, make-up, raffle, tombola, toy tombola, bouncy castle, Santa’s Grotto, Ready Steady Bake, Christmas Cakes, Gingerbread Houses, Christmas Decorations, sweet stalls, Slush Company, hair accessories, school scarves, and home made cards.

Many thanks to everyone involved including the staff who organised and ran stalls on the day, all of the pupils who set up the Zone, manouvred furniture and sold like hardened sales staff, all of the parents, carers, pupils and friends of Our Lady’s who came along on the day and helped us raise a clear profit of £1020.84.

Pupils involved:

Patrycki Brodaski, Jade Collins, Nicola Dollochin, Courtney Elliot, Ciaran Harvie, Kyla McPherson, Lauri Miller, Agnes Ngolo, Toni Paterson, Scott Paton, Ilona Reynolds, Grant Riddell, Kirpal Singh, Liam Stobie, Barbara Ross, Michael Lewis, Hannah Eadie, Chloe Brown, Rebecca Cairney, Patryck Chentkienlz, Kireel Greer, Cailtin Hoey, Natalie Jadach,
Jon Jo Kane, Danielle Lawley, Ceri Ann McLaren, Gabrielle McPherson, Vicktoria Pulchalska, Keira-Jade Slavin, Amy Swan, Anna Wawrzynczak, Bea Uppal, Nichaela Gibbons, Wiktoria Heba

Coffee morning

The Personal Development Class recently held a coffee morning. Many thanks to everyone who helped, especially Mrs Zambonini and Mrs Evans.

Report from the Personal Development Class

On Tuesday 9th September, the 5th and 6th year Personal Development class held a coffee morning to the staff of Our Lady’s High School to raise money for the Little Princess Trust that makes wigs for girls who can’t grow their own hair. We also raised money for our Enterprise projects.

We not only held a coffee morning we baked the cakes, advertised, made and sold tickets so every member of staff knew we were having one.

First of all we had to decide the date, what food to make, visit Mrs Sinclair to ask if it was ok to have one, Then we had make and sell tickets to the staff, order the stock, ask for raffle prizes, make the food and then finally hold the coffee morning.

I think the whole thing was a success even though there was a few bowls smashed and arguments we still managed pull it off in the end. The only thing I wish we done better was talked more on the actual day because everyone was running around hectic and there was a few arguments because someone was where they shouldn’t have been but after all the hard work we pulled through in the end.

Servant Leadership Programme

2014_0826_leadershipFifteen pupils and two staff took part in the Servant Leadership Programme run by the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge.

Over two days, including an overnight stay, the group worked with Michael Canning to learn more about team building, being organised and the skills and qualities required not only to be a leader, but more importantly, to be a leader that provides a service to others.

All those who attended agreed that it was an outstanding event, with emotional highs and howls of laughter interspersed with silent contemplation and candlelit prayers.

Report from Katie Anne Hunter

Last Monday and Tuesday, 25/26th of August, 15 of us new 6th year joined an overnight retreat to the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge for a Servant Leadership Course which was to try make us the best leaders we can be in our new roles as House Captains and Prefects.

Monday was started off with a few icebreakers which got everyone loosened up for the day’s activities and also made people feel a bit more comfortable. Our day after this was filled with team building activities, personal reflections and also filled with drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of good food.

After our day we had Night Prayer which was a very different experience for everyone. We were all grouped up in fours and in these fours, in a mini huddle, Fr Paddy came around and blessed us all which was quite an overwhelming experience for us all as well as being different. The best part of it however was the fact we got to do it in our jammies!

The Tuesday began with another good meal and little did we know, it was going to be an incredibly emotional day. Michael showed us some videos about people helping one another which got a few people started but then when he asked us to write a letter to someone who means a lot to us and who also inspire us and tell them why we chose them, everyone had to really dig deep into their feelings which shed a tear or 50 especially for the girls. It was truly emotional but we all felt very uplifted after it as we began to realise how lucky we are to have these people in our lives.

After our emotional day and our short journey of Servant Leadership, we had our final mass which brought us all together for the last time. Before the mass, Fr Tom asked us in our school groups to come up with some ideas which we could take back to our schools and give some of the things we learned at this retreat back to the schools. These lists got read out at mass and this was to conclude our visit.

We all had a fantastic time and when asked what we do to improve it, we all said maybe add another day! None of us expected to enjoy it as much as we did but all of us said that we were so glad to be a part of it.

Radio 1 Academy

The Radio 1 Academy is being held at Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow University from 10th – 16th May. There will be workshops, master classes and Q&A sessions covering Journalism, Media, Music production, Music performance and DJing.

Everything is free but tickets are required for most activities, available from Queen Margaret Union from Monday 5th May at 12pm.

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in a career in the media.

Click here for additional information.

Go4SET results

Report by Mr Law

Our Go4SET team successfully completed and presented their water project and we have the certificate to prove it! Although the group didn’t win one of the major prizes at the Almada Street Banqueting Hall, the feedback was extremely favourable, commenting that their research, their report and their presentation reflected the high quality of teamwork and communication they exhibited throughout the process.

Patrick, Erin, John Joe, Saoirse, Dearbhla, Damian and Heather were exemplary throughout and great representatives for Our Lady’s High School. Unfortunately the model of their water recycling idea for the school was the weak area of their submission, not being the most stable structure. To make matters worse, adverse weather conditions during transport severely compromised the already limited structural integrity of the model. A flurry of duct tape, bubble wrap and conflicting opinions later and the model was at least presentable although one of the team was nearly thrown in the bin due to the difficulty in distinguishing him from the sticky tape and plastic.

It was a rewarding experience for everyone involved and they gained a great deal from it. We choose to believe that we were pipped for the bronze medal position by a fraction of a judging point.

A big thank you to all staff that helped out with this challenge. Mr Johnstone’s advice regarding tubing and toilet flushing, Mrs Henderson’s support, and Mr Moir’s negotiation skills as a supplier, were all a particularly beneficial experience for the group. Particular thanks to Mrs Macfadyen and Mr McKendrick for logistical support.

Thanks also for the paint, office help and to all staff that released them from class to complete tasks … English department most recently. It was much appreciated.

XL3 Reeltime Music Project

Report by XL3

Last October we went to Cumbernauld Theatre to try out different activities for our XL3 Arts and Employability project.

On the day we split up into groups with other schools and participated in animation, streetart and music. We all like music and thought making a song would be good fun so we decided to go with Reeltime.

Over Christmas we thought about which songs we would like to record. In January we came back to school with ten possible songs. We used dotmocracy to eliminate songs until we had only two left. Dotmocracy is a process in which you put a dot beside your preferred song. Two songs had five dots each so we went through the same process again and we ended up with ‘Skyscraper ‘ by Demi Lovato.

Mr Kay invited Nicola Hall, a student of musical theatre, in to help us with our singing and confidence in performing. Nicola told us all about singing techniques and warm ups. But most importantly she believed in us which made us feel happy, gave us confidence and made us believe in ourselves.

We read through the lyrics which gave us ideas for which theme to use for the video to accompany the song. One idea was about someone dying but we decided instead to go with male victims of domestic abuse. We decided to have a woman who was a secret alcoholic who fell in love with someone but then started to abuse him while under the influence of alcohol.

To help us with the process of filming we developed a storyboard to tell the tragic story and to help us with the locations. We only had a short time to film it so the storyboard was a great organisational tool.

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On the 4th March 2014, Reeltime came into Our Lady’s to help us with the production of the music and the video. We were under a lot of pressure to get the video filmed and the song recorded in only two and a half hours. Reeltime said that we were

“one of the most prepared schools they had worked with”

We all took responsibility for a certain role:

  • Assistant Director: Sean
  • Assistant Producer: Dylan
  • Cameraman: Daniel
  • Runner: Christian
  • Clapper: Kieran
  • Photographer: Shane
  • Props: Carriemarie
  • Actors: Kieran, Nicole, Carriemarie and Dylan
  • Extras: Mr Kay and anyone else who was around at the time

Reeltime also stated that Sean “was one of the best and most enthusiastic assistant directors”  and they were very happy that we all knew our individual roles.

Reeltime are now producing the video and the music which will be presented at an evening celebration in a local high school on Wednesday April 2nd. At the event all the participating schools will be there along with parents, carers and friends.

We are looking forward to seeing the final result of all our work, but nervous at the same time.

Fifth & Sixth Year Information Evening

Many thanks to everyone who came along to the information evening which was very well attended. Mrs Sinclair welcomed everyone, handing over to Mrs Mulholland who gave a very informative presentation about the new exams, options, wider achievements and opportunities for pupils in fifth and sixth year. Handouts were also distributed to parents and carers.

One of our school captains, Stephen Ross, spoke about his experiences in Our Lady’s High School. He gave a very animated and entertaining account of his time in school and encouraged parents to ensure that their children make the most of opportunities offered to them. He talked about his time at CERN in Switzerland, the CARITAS programme, volunteering in Bothwellpark High School as well as his parish.  He also talked about the importance of study and how difficult but how worthwhile it is. He was very well recived indeed.

Mr Martin, PT Pupil Support, advised the parents and carers on study, supporting their children, the options interviews and the importance of wider achievements: while universities, colleges and employers are looking for qualifications, they are also looking for well rounded young people with skills in a number of areas.

Careers Adviser, Ruth Robertson, spoke about her work in the school, explaining the work of Skills Development Scotland and introduced the My World of Work website.

(Needs Powerpoint to view)